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Philippines delays executions

The Philippine Supreme Court has postponed for 30 days a scheduled execution of two convicted kidnappers. The decision was taken after the court heard new arguments seeking to prove that Robert Lara and Roderick Licayan were innocent. The execution of the two men convicted of involvement in the kidnapping of a Chinese businessman and his aide in 1998 was due to take place on Friday. The last execution in the Philippines was carried out in 2000. Last month, President Gloria Arroyo lifted a four-year-old moratorium on the death penalty, opening the way for the executions to resume. Her decision, which comes ahead of presidential elections in 2004, followed a series of kidnappings which particularly targeted the ethnic Chinese community.Full Story

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